Controversial Subjects and Civility

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#1)  Controversial Subjects and Civility

Postby edfrank » Sat Jun 05, 2010 3:45 pm


There are a wide variety of people from different backgrounds that are part of the ENTS family.  We have different religious and political views.  This variety can be expected to be reflected in the content of our posts. People are asked show reasonable restraint when faced by comments with which they may personally disagree.  A response is fine, but temper tantrums are not. The tone of these exchanges must remain civil.   Personal attacks are not permitted in this group.  Both the person making the personal attack and those instigating the attacks will potentially be banned from participating in the group.  

Shouting is discouraged.  Shouting is the practice of sending emails containing large blocks of capitalized, bold face, or large font text within the body of the message.  Using these formats makes the text more difficult to read and in general is considered to be rude when directed at an individual or the group as a whole.  The discussion list is not moderated and politeness is expected of all participants.

Please do not mis-characterize statements by other people.  I know the temptation is there and it is common practice in political circles today to do so.  If you disagree with someone, disagree with the entirety of a thought rather than parse it into smaller, out of context, nuggets that are easier to misrepresent.  

It is unfair to lump an individual into a broad category then attack that group.  It is equally, if not more egregious, to portray yourself or your viewpoint as the poor helpless victim of your opponents.  That is simply a manipulative mind game that is unacceptable in a serious discussion.  

The Eastern Native Tree Society fundamentally is a scientific organization and materials published in the science forums will be those that reflect the general consensus of the scientific community.  Not all members may agree with these conclusions because or their personal, religious, or political views.  I do not want these members to feel disenfranchised.  These disagreements can be discussed in the General Discussion forums, as we are doing with the current discussion of Creationism.

Many of the conservative and more religious members feel put upon by the liberal or secular scientific community.  Let me assure you that the feeling is mutual.  As a science minded person it seems as if I am under constant assault by the anti-science sentiment of the conservative right, and the incessant proselytizing of the fundamentalist religious community to the point that I feel I never have an opportunity to enter into serious scientific discussions without hearing the caterwauling of these groups.  So as frustrated as those of you on the right feel about the current state of affairs, it is no different for those of us who just as strongly disagree with your positions.

The call here is for civility in these discussions, and a call for thoughtful arguments rather than verbal games.

Edward Frank
"I love science and it pains me to think that so many are terrified of the subject or feel that choosing science means you cannot also choose compassion, or the arts, or be awe by nature. Science is not meant to cure us of mystery, but to reinvent and revigorate it." by Robert M. Sapolsky
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#2)  Re: Controversial Subjects

Postby dbhguru » Sat Jun 05, 2010 4:06 pm


   Thanks for restating our policy. I would hate to think that subjects like archeology, anthropology, paleontology, astronomy, physics, chemistry, and geology that bring the time-line of human and earthly changes into focus would have to be removed from the table for fear of treading on toes. ENTS is fundamentally a science-based forum, but is also intended to be big tent with room for those who relate to trees in non-economic ways (they can relate that way also).  

Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder and Executive Director
Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
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